The court service is planning to cut staff numbers by 400 as the Ministry of Justice seeks new ways to trim its budget.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service confirmed today that it will need 400 fewer employees as part of efforts to modernise the courts.

It is understood around half of these reductions are expected to happen as people leave the organisation on retirement or for other roles, without being replaced.

The remainder will consist of staff encouraged to take up a ‘voluntary exit scheme’ to ensure the cuts are made more quickly.

An HMCTS spokesman said: ‘We are building a justice system which is simpler, swifter and more efficient. By using modern technology to reduce paperwork, we will be able to better meet the needs of those who use our services now and in the future. 

‘As a result of changes underway we will be launching a voluntary early departure scheme targeted at a number of staff whose roles may be affected.’

The MoJ was tasked earlier this month with finding a further £249m in savings this year as part of a fresh round of spending reductions.

The savings will mean a reduction of 4% from the MoJ’s overall budget of £6.4bn planned for this year.

The loss of 400 jobs from HMCTS equates to around 2.5% of the workforce.

The MoJ last year committed £75m a year to an upgrade of the courts, including the use of information technology, an improved estate and modernisation of current working practices.